Missouri’s third largest population center is struggling with an overcrowded corrections facility.  Greene County Jail in Springfield can house 601 inmates, but has a total of 792.

Greene County Justice Center (Photo courtesy of Green County Sheriff)

But there’s now a plan to creatively expand capacity to accommodate the overflow of 191 detainees.  Over time, the chronic problem has caused the jail to utilize five other facilities across the region to house the excess.

“We have outgrown the jail many years ago,” says Bob Cirtin, a Greene County Commissioner.

Greene County staff will solve the issue by turning the booking area into a pod, allowing additional space for inmates.

“It’s going to create about 50 beds in the current jail and so that will allow us to transport 50 fewer prisoners to other jails,” says Cirtin.

As it stands now, tax payers are paying for the inmate transportation costs; something that this plan will change.

“Going to be a significant savings to our tax payers,” says Cirtin.

The other part of the plan includes turning part of the jail’s parking lot into another temporary jail.

“Essentially bring 5 or 6 of those modules and there about the size of a semi-trailer and we can put 108 inmates in those modules,” says Cirtin.

Because the Greene County Jail will turn its booking area into a pod to create more beds, any future inmates will have to be booked at the jail in Republic for an undetermined amount of time as long as Republic City Council votes to approve it.

“Republic which has a small jail with just a few cells, they’re going to turn that into a booking office and so every police officer in Greene County when they need to book a prisoner into jail, they will first take them to Republic,” says Cirtin.

Bob Cirtin says that the jail’s booking area could be turned into a pod in a week or two.

No word yet on how long the expansion project will take.

Story contributed to Missourinet by KOLR-TV